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So Tesla, let’s agree that that Top Gear TV show has, at the very least, a flair for the dramatic, a bit of cheesiness built into its DNA. So, why then, did you give them cars to test?
Here are the first two grafs from Tesla’s corporate do-boy:
“Tesla Roadsters in over thirty countries have driven more than ten million real-world miles. [SO WHAT, WHO CARES?] That’s 500,000 gallons of fuel that didn’t burn [HEY TESLA, HOW MUCH JET FUEL DID YOU BUY FOR YOUR CEO OVER THE YEARS? 10,000 GALLONS? 100,000 GALLONS? JUST ASKING, BRO] and over 5.3 million pounds of averted carbon dioxide emissions. [WHY NOT JUST NOT DRIVE INSTEAD, TESLA? AND HOW MANY GALLONS WERE BURNED TO MAKE THE ELECTRICITY TO POWER THE CARS?] The credit goes to approximately 1,500 Roadster owners around the world who drive their electric vehicles in all conditions; [THEY’RE LIKE HEROES, OR SOMETHING, RIGHT?] they’re an enthusiastic group who often talk and blog about their experiences. [“HERE’S A SNAPSHOT OF MY BRAND-NEW SIX-FIGURE TOY” – IT’S JUST LIKE, “LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY GRANDCHILDREN.”]
“Tesla is committed to building the best cars in the world. [HAHAHAHAHAHA! AFTER EIGHT LONG YEARS, YOU’RE “COMMITTED,” HUH?] And in doing so, [IN DOING WHAT, ACTUALLY? THESE TWO SENTENCES DON’T BELONG TOGETHER – YOU DON’T THINK YOU’RE BUILDING THE BEST CARS IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, OR DO YOU?] catalyzing change in a very traditional industry [OBJECTION, FACTS NOT IN EVIDENCE] by convincing drivers that EVs can match and surpass automobiles run by combustion. [BUT YOUR EV’S ARE MOSTLY RUN BY COMBUSTION] That’s not an easy task. [O RLY? TELL US ABOUT THE MISMANAGED TWO-SPEED TRANSMISSION FIASCO, RICARDO, WHAT ABOUT THAT?] But the Roadster has changed a lot of minds. [THE ROADSTER IS A FAT LITTLE PIGGY WHAT COSTS WAAAAAAY TOO MUCH MONEY. TESLA MOTORS IS A FAT LITTLE PIGGY WHAT SUCKS ON GOVERNMENT TEAT WAAAAAY TOO MUCH]”
Anyway, check the video, below, if you want.
Why yes, I’m extreeeeeeemely comfortable in this very small, very heavy, very expensive rolling toy. Why do you ask?
And leave us not forget: All hail the Mighty Tesla Driver: “Look at me! Look at me! Ooops.” That was on Geary in the Western A, I believe.
The video you’re not supposed to see. I’d never seen it before, personally. It makes the Tesla Roadster look like the overweight, overpriced, electrified POS that it is.
And here’s part of the defense from the BBC’s cheesy Top Gear show.
1. We never said that the Tesla’s true range is only 55 miles, as opposed to their own claim of 211, or that it had actually ran out of charge. In the film our actual words were: “We calculated that on our track it would run out after 55 miles”. The first point here is that the track is where we do our tests of sports cars and supercars, as has happened ever since Top Gear existed. This is where cars are driven fast and hard, and since Tesla calls its roadster “The Supercar. Redefined.” it seemed pretty logical to us that the right test was a track test. The second point is that the figure of 55 miles came not from our heads, but from Tesla’s boffins in California. They looked at the data from that car and calculated that, driven hard on our track, it would have a range of 55 miles.
2. We never said that the Tesla was completely immobilized as a result of the motor overheating. We said the car had “reduced power”. This was true.
3. Tesla claims we were lying when we said the brakes were “broken”. They now say that all that had happened was that the fuse to the vacuum pump had failed, which meant that the brake just had to be pushed down much harder than usual. Well – to my mind, if the brakes are broken, then they’re broken, and if this happened to your car, you’d take it to the garage to get it fixed. Odd it seems so trivial to Tesla now, because on the day of filming they insisted on repairing the fuse before we could carry on driving the car.
The above points will be argued over in the near future by brainy people wearing wigs, but in a layman’s nutshell, this is where we stand on the matter. Before I finish though, I must clear up one important issue: scripting. It’s alleged by Tesla that on the day of filming one of their employees caught sight of a script that had been written, before the car had even been driven, already containing the verdict that in the “real world” the Tesla doesn’t work. This, they say, proves our guilt, because we’d condemned the car in advance. May I just say in reply:
a) The truth is, Top Gear had already driven the car prior to filming, to enable us to form a view on it in advance
b) Our primary reasoning behind the verdict had nothing to do with how the Tesla performed; our conclusion was based mainly on the fact that it costs three times more than the petrol sports car upon which it’s based. It takes a long time to recharge, so you can’t use it as easily for the carefree motoring journeys that are a prerequisite of sports car driving. You can actually reach that conclusion without driving the car. As it happens, when it did come to the subjective area of how the car drove on the track, we were full of praise for its performance and handling.
c) Just so you understand there’s nothing devious going on, you need to know how this filming business works. When you film a car review, the reviewer is only the tip of the iceberg. Behind the lens is a film crew, and only a day’s worth of light to shoot the eight minute film. This means we have to prepare in advance a treatment – a rough draft of a script so that the director and film crew can get to work right away, knowing what shots they will need to capture. It will contain the facts about a car, and what we think of its looks and so on, but how well the car actually drives is added on the day. If we’ve driven it ahead of filming, as we do with most cars, we will also have an idea how it feels to drive. But, and this is crucial, as we uncover fresh information about a car whilst filming it, it is entirely normal for the treatment to be modified as the day unfolds. Jeremy is always tweaking the scripts to reflect what his driving experience has actually been on the day.
There you go. I’ve said my bit, and now we’ll hopefully shut up and prepare for our day in court.
PS: As this is going through the courts right now, we’re afraid we’ve had to turn off comments on this one, but we wanted to let you all know how we see it.
Andy Wilman is the Executive Producer of Top Gear”